A well-researched effort that will undoubtedly add to general readers’ knowledge about the food they consume on a daily...

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COMBAT-READY KITCHEN

HOW THE U.S. MILITARY SHAPES THE WAY YOU EAT

Veteran food journalist Marx de Salcedo delves into a previously obscure organization in the Boston suburbs that influences perhaps half the items for sale in supermarkets.

The organization, within the Department of Defense, is found on military charts as the Combat Feeding Directorate, which is part of the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. The book, which includes astonishing facts in every chapter, stems partly from investigative journalism about food quality, partly from the author’s fascination with how she feeds her family (“I’ve always been a passionate home cook”), and partly from concern about the future of nutrition. The premise sounds simple: nourishment developed to feed combat troops in remote battle zones has come to dominate food consumed by American civilians. That truism, in the author's value system, becomes a mixed blessing. She wants troops to eat well, but she feels shaky about how the research has compromised the food supply outside war zones. Marx de Salcedo gained limited access to the Army facilities in Natick, and her account of the tour and her resulting analysis of highly technical scientific literature make for interesting, if sometimes laborious, reading. However, when she begins to apply what she learned to specific foods and preservation processes, readers will eagerly go along. The author devotes individual chapters to the development and consumption of energy bars, processed meats, bread, cheese, pizza, and plastic packaging. Marx de Salcedo comments that by discovering the military genesis of so many everyday supermarket items, "I've breached the secret, beating heart of the industrial food system." According to the author, current research by the scientists at Natick contains the potential to change eating habits entirely, including the traditional regimen of three distinct meals per day.

A well-researched effort that will undoubtedly add to general readers’ knowledge about the food they consume on a daily basis.

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59184-597-3

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Current

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

THE LIBRARY BOOK

An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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